I do not want to forget

From my trip to Toronto last week:

  1. The buildings. So many buildings, some so tall you have to tip your head wayyyyy back to see the tops. So many houses, all side by side, sharing a wall or an alley. Street after street after street of them.
  2. People, people, people. Not just white people. Brown, black, Asian, Indigenous, so many different kinds of people. (It's easy to forget in mostly-white Cape Breton how many different kinds of people there are.) Subway cars full of people, sidewalks walked over hundreds of times an hour. People crossing the street in droves. People, so many, each with their own life, their own plans for the day, none of which I'll ever know. I delight in this and also am a fish out of water in this. I can pass, I can play along and pretend I am a city girl, enough to navigate the Subway. But it is also unnerving, it is not my normal. Still, I like it.
  3. A city so big and sprawling. One neighbourhood of it is the size of my town. Subways, street cars, taxis, Ubers, cars, bikes, people walking. Homes and stores and highways spooling out and out and out into the farmland beyond. Clouds overhead, grey-blue and ominous, threatening thunder later. A humid summer.
  4. Gardens, to match all the houses. Lush, spilling onto the sidewalk. Some manicured and tidy, little postage stamp lawns. Some unruly and moist. A little space is enough. People live with it, this is their life. A house ten feet wide and 50 feet long. I come home to my house in Cape Breton and feel the space of it, luxurious all of a sudden. Wide. 
  5. The way Aleena looked like a Queen in her dresses, the way all the women at the functions sparkled. Literally sparkled, from all the jewels and shiny threads on their clothes. The way each lenhga or garment had a different colour scheme and it all worked beautifully. 
  6. Niagara Falls and the mist like rain, pouring down on my and Laura's heads. I had the red poncho hood pulled down to my eyebrows and my sunglasses pulled down just enough that I could see out, but barely. My sunglasses were covered with water and there was water everywhere. The sunscreen on my face was running into my eyes. The boat was in the middle of the horseshoe of the falls and I have no idea how the Captain could see in the white froth and churning water and the mist that was not mist but pouring rain. The roar of the water, and the excited cries of all the tourists on the boat, all in red ponchos, exclaiming over being drenched, exclaiming over being right in the heart of a huge cataract of water pouring four million cubic feet of water every second. The rush of it, the energy. 
  7. How I feel when I take myself out of my normal and plop myself down in someone else's normal for a week: like anything is possible. Like all the little excuses I tell myself in the run of a day about why I do a certain thing a certain way, or why life is the way it is in Cape Breton, or about what I want to do with my life - are just that, excuses. That I can change it at any time, if I put in the effort. Sometimes the effort isn't physical, it's mental - just working to see something differently. Seeing excuses for what they are and choosing what to keep, what to let go of, what to try to change into something else. 
  8. A special dinner out with two women I have known for thirteen years, at a fancy-ass restaurant where we laughed and laughed and joked with the waiter and caught up on each other's lives and ate fancy-ass onion rings and they split a truffle.
  9. Sour candies, two couches side by side, "Insecure" and "Mistresses", laughter spilling out of us.
  10. A furry, soft, excitable, delightful dog named Harriet. 

July 21 - 10 things

  1. Taking breaks = so good, so necessary, so right. Going back to the work, or the app, refreshed = feels 100% amazing. SO much better than "powering through" and doing creative work from a place of exhaustion. 
  2. I love seeing Elise Blaha Cripe get inspired on a new thing. It inspires me, gets me charged up to cut out the things that no longer serve, to welcome in the new things or the things that are old but are now new again. Thank you, Elise. 
  3. The abundance of July in plants in ditches - blue, white, purple, all the plants. Hazy hot days.
  4. Those blue plastic bags of recyclables went to the curb last night and are being picked up today. 
  5. Swimming yesterday at Groves Point. The water calm, no waves. Liquid cool all over my body, my hands making a path through it. 
  6. "Excuse me, where did you get that suit?" Twice yesterday. "A website," I reply. "Swimsuits For All." Are they saying that instead of saying, "Go you! A chubby woman wearing a bikini!" or is it just simply what they are thinking? Either way, I will take it. 
  7. "Helloooo babe!" from a client, stopping by my office. "Coffee today," he says, and he pulls a loonie out of his pocket to show me. "Don't lose it," I say, because he is notorious for losing his money. I will probably give him a cup of coffee anyway, even if he does lose it before breaktime. 
  8. Next week I am flying away from the ocean, inland to Toronto. I will spend a week there. I will stand in a wedding from a culture different than my own. I will see friends I haven't seen in a while. I'm looking forward to it, but also a little nervous too. The older I get the more I am a creature of habit, of home. 
  9. A Friday at work where there isn't anything pressing, where the boss is off for the day, where I can start to feel caught up on my list = precious. 
  10. A chocolate chip cookie and a cottage cheese so smooth it's basically yogurt.

i am inspired

  1.  I am inspired by Sommersalt's July experiment. (Here.) She is writing a list of 10 observations of the world around her, each day. They are spare and beautiful, striking to the heart of it.
  2. I don't think I will do it every day. At least not right now. I am not in the headspace for a daily project. But I am in the headspace for simplicity. And for noticing. So we shall see. 
  3. The birch tree I see when I look out the window rustles and tosses like a green pom-pom, gently shaken.
  4. There are things I am waiting to tell, waiting to make public. I am both anxious and excited to share. In time. 
  5. My partner showers and I can hear the water spilling and running. 
  6. There is a card my mother gave me, sitting on my desk beside me. A photo of two women sewing, wearing cloth around their heads, their faces looking up at the photographer, is on the front. Mom used it to wrap a pair of socks she knitted. 
  7. My office is packed with things, most glaringly four blue bags filled with recyclables, waiting for next Friday. 
  8. I crave tomorrow's freedom to fill my time as I please, and ache to turn my attention to the space I live in. 
  9. We are about to drive over to Sydney and get some ribs at RibFest. 
  10. Love.